Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lone Duck: The Best Lil' Campground in Colorado...

It’s funny. I’ve always made it a point not to get sucked into an argument with a loudmouthed, drunk. But one night last week, I let my guard down. It wasn’t really an argument, I guess. More of a difference of opinion. Still, the debate is settled. I was right, he was wrong.

If you’re a long time reader of this column, you might remember me telling you about the, Lone Duck Campground in Colorado. My family and I have camped there for twelve years in a row now. Well, there was the year my daughter and daughter-in-law were both pregnant. They both used it as an excuse not to travel. Whatever.

Anyway, that’s where we were last week, and late one night, around 11:00 P.M. I was in the video game room, minding my own business when this guy holding five bottles of beer plus the one he was drinking from burst in. I continued to mind my own business and kept on playing my pin ball game. For a while the guy just kind of staggered around looking at the different games in the room. Finally he asked in a loud, obnoxious voice. So, where you from, bud?

I told him I was from Topeka, Kansas. He said, cool, you’re a long way from home, why in the world would you come to this place? I told him this was our twelfth year in a row to camp there and that there was no place I’d rather spend my vacation. He looked at me like I was crazy or something. He said man, there are so many better places than this. I asked him, where? He told me, he couldn’t remember the names of the places, but assured me there were a lot of them out there. I bid my new drunk friend, goodnight, and headed back to the campfire my clan had gathered around for the night.

Early the next morning, I thought about what the guy was saying. I guess, “better“ depends on who‘s telling the story. Sure there are a lot of bigger campgrounds. There are newer one’s too, who knows, maybe that’s what my, drunk friend meant by better.

But if you’re looking for a place in the heart of the Rocky Mountains that have so many of their own things to offer plus being so close to so many attractions in the area, you won’t find a better place to take your family.

Steve and Lisa work tirelessly to accommodate every single one of their guests. If you’re up early, Steve will even cook you breakfast, but don’t be late, his cooking is pretty popular. They have tent and RV sites. They also have at least one travel trailer they rent out. If that doesn’t work for you, you can always stay in one of their, one-room cabins. There’s a playground and a heated swimming pool for the kids. They even have a fishing pond for those who’d like to try their luck at landing a trout. They have a really cool gift shop and plenty of room to gather in the lodge. The game room is filled with a lot of old games from when I was a young man. Games like TRON, PAC MAN, GALIGA, and several racing games. They have three old pin ball machines, FISH TALES and WHITE WATER are the one's we play the most. If you hurry out there you just might find my initals on GALAGA as the top score. Cool! And because they never stop cleaning, the restrooms are spotless. Your clothes getting wet and dirty? no problem, they have a laundry mat to take care of that one too.

Let’s see, they’re five minutes from the Pikes Peak Highway and Santa’s Workshop, a really cool place for the kids. They’re located five minutes west of, beautiful downtown, Manitou Springs. You can easily get to The Garden of the Gods in 15 minutes. Seven Falls and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo are 20 minutes away. Woodland Park and a seemingly endless supply of jeep trails we explore along Rampart Range every year are just 15 minutes to the west. And if you’re a history buff or a gambler looking for some action, Cripple Creek is just a 33 mile drive. Maybe you plan to go river rafting, Canon City is just 57 miles to the southwest. Maybe you’d like to spend a day to see the Continental Divide. It’s just a 100 miles to the west. Trust me, it’s a beautiful drive.

Oh yeah, and it’s only 8 miles or so from our official, newest favorite, locally owned, restaurant in the world. It’s called “Jo Mamas“, in Woodland Park. It’s a small, Italian place. Nothing fancy, just a really cool place. The atmosphere is fun and friendly, the food was wonderful, and even though they were busy as hell, the service exceeded all expectations. Friday and Saturday nights they have live music. You should have seen my 18-month,old grand daughter out there dancing when the guy started playing his guitar. It's quite possible that she was a bigger hit than he was. To the guitar player, I'm sorry I didn't get your name. But just so you know, your performance that night just made an already exellent day even better.

For me, it’s all about building memories. And to Steve and Lisa, and now a little Italian restaurant named Jo Mamas in Woodland Park, I thank you for being a part of it.

A better place? No way, that’s just crazy talk.

Stop on by the blog this week and tell us your vacation story at:


  1. Nice relaxing column this week, Kevin. Good job.

    I commented on the poem you left on Cat's blog. Loved it.

  2. Thanks, Fred. Hell, we all need to relax every once in a while. Even bitter, old, wing-nuts like myself.

    Oh yeah, the poem. Maybe one day when the time is right, I'll finish it...

  3. so now youre pretending to be a travel agent too?
    note to self mark lone duck campground and jo mamas off my list of places to visit in my lifetime. oh hell mark the entire state of colorado off. if it appeals to a tired old racist like yourself it's gotta suck.

  4. Blah, blah, blah.

    Man, it must really suck to be you...

  5. It would be impossible to pinpoint Anonymous' age based on his comments. Based on his political views, he seems anywhere from eighteen to forty or more. But his generalizing from the particular . . . I don't know. I thought we learned how to overcome that in the earlier stages of development. I know we pay our school districts handsomely to teach our children that it's one of the lowest forms of thought. Where did we go wrong, Kevin?

  6. I'm not sure we did go wrong, Fred. I'm have a hunch his mom breast fed him until he was probably 8 or 9-years-old. He's never been able to adjust and now he's just mad at the world...

  7. Since your annoying anonymous friend won't go to any places you visit, can I give you a list of places I like to frequent so I won't run into his bitch ass. Aw nevermind, Im sure we don't like the same places. Remember Kevin, love always wins.